Only 10 minutes to more creativity? That sounds doable, right? It is, and it’s as simple as sitting quietly and focusing on your breath.
For the past several years I have been recommending meditation to my private clients. It has been significant to most.
At our Creative Arts Business Summit, I would lead a guided meditation. For some of my clients, this was a powerful exercise.
Today in our times of stress with the coronavirus, meditation can have a profound effect on us.
I also have my own meditation practice that is part of my morning ritual. I was around meditation for a long time before I started to practice. My sister has taught mindfulness meditation for more than 15 years after many more years of a personal practice, and my husband has also had a long-time practice.
Despite their encouragement, I could not think of myself as someone who meditated. After all, I couldn’t possibly sit still that long. The first time I tried, I stopped and looked at the clock and barely two minutes had passed. And, I could not shake the long-held idea that meditation somehow was for hippies or new-age types.
I somehow got over that.
Read, I stopped self-sabotaging myself. And, I began a meditation practice. I have found that it has a positive impact on my life. I can see this in my everyday activities and in my own creativity.
Especially in today’s uncertain times, I find it grounding.
Benefits of Meditation
Mindfulness meditation has really become popular with many people — creatives and entrepreneurs among them. I think it is because study after study shows the benefits of meditation, including
• increased focus
• more patience
• a feeling of calm that just increases with more practice
• less anxiety
• more insight
• more clarity
• the ability to let the small stuff go
• less stress
• more compassion for yourself and others
What studies have found is that you actually have changes in your brain as a result of meditating. Your brain stops processing information at the same rate as it would normally. This registers as a decrease in beta waves, and this can happen after your first session meditating. Studies also show the link between meditation and creativity.
Starting your own practice
Are you interested in starting — or trying — a meditation practice? It is a PRACTICE, so don’t worry about being perfect. None of us are at this. Don’t worry about doing it wrong. There is no wrong if you practice.
Here are some guidelines to get started:
Pick an amount of time to meditate that is doable.
If you do not have a practice, don’t start with 30 minutes. Start with 5-10 minutes.
Set a timer. I use the timer on my iphone and the chime sound. I also use the Insight Meditation app that I downloaded on my iPhone. You can find free and paid versions of many apps to try.
Sit in a chair, feet on the ground in front of you, hands resting in your lap or on your thighs. The idea is to be comfortable yet controlled in your posture. You could also try cross-legged on the floor. Close your eyes or just barely open them.
Just focus on your breath. You might silently say the words “in” and “out” as you breath. That is what I did in the beginning because it helped me focus.Don’t worry if you start thinking about other things — you will; just come back to focus on your breath. Don’t label the other thoughts. In one guided meditation I used, I can remember the teacher saying to put the thoughts on a cloud and say “Thanks for visiting” and let them float away.
Before you know it, the chime will sound. Try doing this every day at the same time of day so it becomes a habit. Promise yourself to stick with it for a set period of time, say a month. Then when the month is over congratulate yourself and start another month. You can gradually increase the time that you meditate.
You will start to see the benefits I have noted above, and maybe others. And, that will keep you meditating.
It’s your turn?
What is your experience meditating? Have you found it affected your creativity? What is stopping you from trying?